This week has been busy. I haven’t gone to bed a single night this week without feeling like I got less than half of my to-do list done. This might not seem so bad to others, since it’s only Tuesday, but it feels like it should be Thursday night, it’s been so busy. Today took a lot out of me, but luckily, I still feel like I have some energy. Sara and I met this morning to talk about our TYCA-PNW talk on Saturday, and then we met and talked with Chris Anderson about using blogs in his classes (one of which I took last summer). I also had an awesome chance to talk with Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein at lunch, listen to a really engaging talk of theirs this afternoon, and partake in a discussion among the GTAs this evening with Graff and Birkenstein. To top all this exciting talking off, my philosophy class also had a great conversation about Frankfurt School Marxism today.
It’s hard to imagine that this much good talking could all happen in one day…
I was particularly moved by Sara and my conversation with Chris this morning. It was such a great way to start off the day, and I felt so excited for the way Chris talked about using blogging in the classes he teaches. He told us that he felt that conventional academic writing is often not very good, so he tries to break through that by attempting freewriting and student journals. However, journals became like busywork, and they were often sloppy, uninteresting, and cumbesome. However, blogs were able to replace journals, but were often more interesting, polished-looking, and public. Students were in what Chris calls a “mid-place,” a place in which they are thinking aloud in a public space.
One thing that Chris mentioned today that I was really excited to hear was that he felt he would rather live with the problem of messiness (what if someone flames on the blog, particularly in the Bible as Lit class? what if control is “lost”?) in order to get to dialogue and openenss and good ideas. He notes that the blog is a chance to go home with what you freewrite or discuss in class and contemplate it outside of class.
Chris also said something really good about place or location, which I immediately connected to the theme of the TYCA-PNW conference this weekend, but it appears my notetaking wasn’t as good as I would like.
Overall a great day. The coffee shop I’m at closes in seven minutes; I have been going nearly non-stop since 6:15 a.m., when I woke up and immediatley opened up a book to read some Herbert Marcuse. I think I’m gonna go home and do more homework.
EDIT: Chris mentioned a Parker Palmer quote: “to teach is to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced” (90).